White House says Kavanaugh ready to testify over ‘false allegation’
Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh is prepared to testify as soon as Tuesday to refute an allegation of sexual assault, the White House said Monday.
“Judge Kavanaugh looks forward to a hearing where he can clear his name of this false allegation. He stands ready to testify tomorrow if the Senate is ready to hear him,” White House spokesman Raj Shah said in a statement.
Kavanaugh’s nomination has been upended after The Washington Post on Sunday published an account from Christine Blasey Ford, who accused Kavanaugh of assaulting her during a high school party in the 1980s.
Ford alleged that Kavanaugh pinned her down and attempted to remove her clothes, then put his hand over her mouth when she tried to scream for help.
Kavanaugh has denied the allegations, and said he was willing to testify the before the Senate Judiciary Committee to “defend my integrity.”
An attorney for Ford on Monday said that Ford is also prepared to testify before the panel to back up her allegations.
Both Kavanaugh and Ford are expected to testify during a public hearing next Monday, Sept. 24.
Several senators on both sides of the aisle have called for both Kavanaugh and Ford to testify, with Democrats urging the the confirmation process be paused in the meantime.
Kavanaugh was previously scheduled to receive a vote from the Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday.
President Trump earlier Monday expressed a willingness to see the proceedings delayed so that the claims could be fully vetted.
“If it takes a little delay, it’ll take a little delay,” Trump told reporters at the White House. “I’m sure it will work out very well.”
The president stood by Kavanaugh, praising him as “one of the finest people that I’ve ever known,” and dismissed the notion of withdrawing his nomination as “ridiculous.”
The president echoed some Senate Republicans who have questioned the timing of the allegations, which were first sent to Democrats in July. Ford had previously requested she not be identified prior to the publication of her story on Sunday.
Republicans hold a 51-49 advantage in the Senate, and can ill afford any defections from their own parties if all Democrats oppose Kavanaugh.
Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), considered a crucial swing vote on Kavanaugh, told reporters Monday that if the judge lied about the incident, it would be “disqualifying.”
–Updated at 6:25 p.m.